To some people in Lebanon, summer means going to the beach to get a tan and relax. But to a small community that you might usually find on the shores, summer is surfing season! While we always thought of the beach in Lebanon as the ultimate destination for leisure time, we did not know that it could be a great place to surf!
An article on CNN, reveals the sporty side of the Lebanese shores!
Surfing in Jiyeh
Jiyeh, an ancient seaside town in the South of Lebanon, has a tiny surfing community which is growing. The beach of this town in known for being clean and having clear water.
In addition to that, the quality of the waves is very good and the surfers get a decent amount of surfing days.
Jiyeh also provides the most consistent waves in Lebanon. The waves setups are also attractive among surfers.
Abbas: the only surfboard shaper in Lebanon
How did it all start? Well, Abbas became interested in surfboarding after bodyboarding for many years. Since surfing was not a popular sport, surfers in Lebanon had to import their surfboards from abroad. Thanks to YouTube, Abbas learned how to make his own. He then created a business calledP.A. Surfboards
which eventually grew and made him the only surfboard shaper in Lebanon. After learning the physics of surfing, he started adjusting his designs. Crafting surfboards is his part-time job, but with the fast growth of the surfing comunity, Abbas believes that it will soon become his primary job.
The birth of the vibrant surfing community
A surfing community existed before the civil war, but during the war, the beaches became deserted. However, surfing is increasingly popular among locals now. Apart from Jiyeh, there are other surfing spots in Lebanon such as Batroun, Tyre and Byblos. But Chekka, a city in Northern Lebanon, is pretty special for the surfing community; it produces a wave that "surfaces a few times a year and provides a right-hand wave over a sandy bottom which bounces off a jetty during large swells." The small size of the surfing community has also an advantage; it creates a strong bond between surfers. According to Gabrielle, a surfer in Lebanon, the community is close-knit. "If there's a new guy or a new girl we would know because we hadn't seen them in the water before so we would talk to them and welcome them to the community", she says. Ali Kassem, a 17-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon, was spotted by local surfers walking on the shoreline with nothing more than a styrofoam board that he had shaped into a surfboard with a knife. Of course, the surfers called him and warned him about the dangers of surfing without the right equipment. Nevertheless, he was determined to continue surfing since it's his way to relax.